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Meet Jessie

Jessie's story

Annual Trans Surgery Fund recipient


Jessie (he/him) is a 21-year-old trans man of color from Florida who has faced a number of unique challenges in obtaining the care he needs.

In 2017, when Jessie was living in the U.S. Virgin Islands, he was unfortunately displaced by Hurricane Irma. He came to the United States and thanks to a scholarship opportunity, enrolled in college. Soon after, however, he found he could not afford the health insurance plans available to him, and dealt with homelessness and housing insecurity for the first year he was living in America. In 2018, once he was able to afford stable housing, Hurricane Michael destroyed his home’s roof. Once again, an unexpected setback wiped his savings towards health care.

Jessie has a four-year-old daughter. He shared with us that it’s been a challenge to provide for his little family while also dealing with dysphoria and misgendering when at work. He shares, “Although I am ‘passable’ to some, I am not to others. On a daily basis, customers assume that I am a guy, but once I turn around, they go into a stuttering phase of pronouns because they are not sure what to say. At school and work I have a constant fear of using the ‘wrong’ restroom for fear of shame, humiliation, or safety.”

Jessie shared how much receiving top surgery will mean to him. “All my life I struggled with dysphoria. I have always known that I was in the wrong body; I never accepted myself as a girl. I know that with this surgery I will finally be in my true skin.”

Jessie's timeline

  • Award Granted

    March 13, 2019

    Jessie was granted a Surgery Fund Award!

Grant details

$8,500 towards gender-affirming care.

About FTM Top Surgery

On average, it costs $12,000+ for Jessie's care.

What is it?

FTM/N top surgery is a surgical procedure that removes breast tissue and reshapes the chest contour to create a more traditionally masculine or gender-neutral appearance.

What is life like for a person who needs this care?

Prior to care, many trans masc people experience dysphoria that impacts their daily life. One of the most common and heartbreaking experiences we hear from applicants is that they cannot give hugs to their loved ones without feeling intense distress with their chest. In addition, reliance on chest binding can cause strain over long periods of time.

How accessible is it for trans folks to receive this care?

While top surgery is often categorized as a covered benefit in many insurance plans, the reality is that it's frequently denied coverage. Many people report unsuccessful attempts to appeal for coverage. In addition, finding skilled surgeons experienced in performing top surgery can be extremely challenging, particularly in states and regions most affected by anti-trans healthcare legislation.

What is the impact of this care on the recipient’s life?

Many trans folks who undergo top surgery report massive improvements to their overall well-being and mental health, leading to increased confidence and more comfort in relationships, navigating public spaces, and more.